We have more than covered the negative side and controversy of the Bill 6 legislation in Alberta.
The biggest benefit of the bill is not the protection of workers, a safer farm workplace or compensation for injured or disabled workers. Much of this is either already happening or is not truly enabled by the bill.
The greatest benefit has been the formation of a coalition. Now this may seem strange to you but the majority of check-off dollar funded member organizations (and others) do not regularly look across the table at each other. Typically, the organizations tend to gather with peer organizations that share common issues or fall within the same agriculture genre (beef or crops). Having the Alberta Canola Producer Commission’s Ward Toma sitting at the same table as the Alberta Cattle Feeders Association’s Bryan Walton, hasn’t happened that often, And, quite frankly, maybe it hasn’t had to. Many of these groups naturally compete with each other for acres or have conflicting natural interests. For example, barley growers want high barley prices while beef producers want lower feed costs.
Let’s be honest. Alberta Milk and Alberta Potato Growers don’t have many common issues to sit down and chat about. At least, until the creation of Bill 6 — The Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act.
According to many, the coalition is temporary but some believe that if this is a positive experience it could go on to live past Bill 6.
I believe that getting all of our organizations together for regular discussions can have a very positive impact. The sharing and collaboration of intellectual resources could have strong benefits for producers and the industry in general.
Collaborating on common internal and external issues will benefit farmers and ranchers in the long-term. It’s just too bad it’s taken Bill 6 to get the whole gang together. The benefits will be seen into the future if the group stands together and check all the egos at the door.